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The Marble Heart
by [?]

“Schatzhauser im gruenen Tannenwald,
Bis schon viel’ hundert Jahre alt,
Dir gehoert all’ Land wo Tannen stehn–“

But strain his memory as he would, he could not recall another line. He often debated within himself whether he should not ask this or that old man what the rest of the rhyme was, but was held back by a certain dread of betraying his thoughts–and then, too, the tradition of the Glass-Man could not be very widely known, and the rhyme must be known to but very few, for there were not many rich people in the forest; and, strangest of all, why had not his father and the other poor people tried their luck? He finally led his mother into speaking about the Little Glass-Man; but she only told him what he knew before, and knew only the first line of the rhyme, although she did add afterwards that the spirit only showed himself to people who were born on a Sunday between eleven and two o’clock. In that respect, she told him, he would fill the requirements, if he could only remember the verse; as he was born on a Sunday noon.

When Charcoal Pete heard this, he was almost beside himself with joy at the thought of undertaking this adventure. It appeared to him sufficient that he knew a part of the verse, and that he was born on a Sunday; so he thought that the Glass-Man would appear to him. Therefore, after he had sold his charcoal one day, he did not kindle any more fires, but put on his father’s best jacket, his new red stockings and his Sunday hat, grasped his black-thorn cane, and bade good-bye to his mother, saying: “I must go to town on business; we shall soon have to draw lots again to see who shall serve in the army, and I will once more call the justice’s attention to the fact that I am the only son of a widow.”

His mother commended his resolution, and he started off for Tannenbuehl. The Tannenbuehl lies on the highest point of the Black Forest; and within a radius of a two-hours’ walk, not a village nor even a hut was to be found, for the superstitious people held the Tannenbuehl to be an unsafe place. And tall and splendid as were the trees in this region, they were now but seldom disturbed by the woodman’s ax; for often when the wood-choppers had ventured in there to work, the axes had flown from the helves and cut them in the foot, or the trees had fallen unexpectedly before they could get out of the way, and had killed and injured many. Then, too, these magnificent trees could only be sold for firewood, as the raftsmen would never take a single log from this locality into their rafts, for the tradition was current among them that both men and rafts would come to grief if they were to do so. Therefore, it was that the trees of the Tannenbuehl had been left to grow so thick and tall that it was almost as dark as night there on the clearest day; and Peter Muck began to feel rather timid there, for he heard not a voice, not a step save his own, not even the ring of an ax, while even the birds appeared to shun these dark shadows.

Charcoal Pete at last reached the highest point of the Tannenbuehl, and stood before a pine of enormous girth, for which a ship-builder in Holland would have given many hundred guldens, delivered at his yard. “Here,” thought he, “the Little Glass-Man would be most likely to live.” So he took off his Sunday hat, made a low bow before the tree, cleared his throat, and said in a trembling voice: “I wish you a very good afternoon, Mr. Glass-Man.” But there was no answer, and every thing about was as still as before. “Perhaps I have to speak the verse first,” thought he, and mumbled: